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Dangerous Chemicals in Insect Repellent

Use a Natural Insect Repellent

insectrepellantDiethyltoluamide, better known as DEET, is a yellow oil that is used in insect repellents. It is the active agent that is used to ward of insects, but it also comes along with a few dangers. DEET was initially developed in 1946 by the United States Army. After the insect borne illnesses that plagued that Pacific campaign Army officials wanted a product that would protect soldiers from these insects. About ten years later products that contained DEET were offered to the public, and the health concerns pertaining to DEET became widely known.

How Does DEET Work?

Many people think that mosquitoes and other insects find the scent of DEET repulsive, however it works more by disorienting them. Insects rely on their sense of smell much more than humans or other mammals do. When mosquitoes search they use their sense of smell more so than their sight, and studies have also proved this. In 2008 researched showed that DEET made it very difficult for them to smell, which essentially blinded them.

DEET and Humans

Whether you’re going for a walk in the woods, camping, or even just at a badger-29603-6037_4family picnic you may be surrounded by bugs. Nothing can be more annoying than lying in bed with itchy legs and arms, so bug repellents containing DEET are applied to the skin. Infrequent exposure to DEET can be relatively harmless, but if bug spray is constantly applied to the skin the body is at a much greater risk for the negative effects of DEET. It eventually gets into the bloodstream where it reaches and damages the nervous system. It can kill brain cells, and people who commonly come into contact with DEET may experience neurological side effects, like:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Memory Loss
  • Muscle Pain

Although it isn’t very likely, overexposure to DEET may also lead to death.

DEET and the Environment

Since DEET is applied directly to the skin it rarely gets into the environment, however it can be harmful if it interacts with the environment. When using bug repellent it is important to make sure that it only gets on the skin, because it has been found to harm plants, fish, and birds.

Alternatives to DEET Bug Repellents

badger-29201-9123_4There are a number of alternatives to DEET, but some of the best are anti-bug products by Badger.  Badger has quite a few bug repellents. There are balms, sprays, and even sun screens, so there is a product for every occasion. Badger uses natural ingredients, like essential oils, to repel bugs, and these products don’t contain harmful chemicals.

DEET is a great way to reduce your risk of insect borne illnesses, however it can cause damage to your nervous system.  DEET kills brain cells and can affect the nervous system in a number of ways. If you’re looking to cut down on your exposure to DEET, Badger Anti Bug balms, sprays, and sticks are a great way to protect yourself from bugs without exposing yourself to DEET.


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